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Dealing with children who are fighting divorce

When child hear the word "divorce," they may immediately jump to the conclusion that their is changing dramatically. While they may live in a new home or have a slightly different schedule, it's important to make sure your children understand that the things they know about you and your spouse will not change.

As parents, it's your responsibility to encourage your child to grow through this experience and to have confidence that you will always be there for him or her when needed. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your children get through this divorce without having to fight to be heard.

Start by talking about the situation

If your children aren't sure what's happening, they are more likely to act out or to be upset. Take the time to talk to them about divorce and what may happen in the future at an age-appropriate level. Be ready to answer questions and to reaffirm your dedication to your children's lives.

Don't argue in front of your child

If you and your spouse argue over the divorce in front of your child, it can make an already stressful situation truly traumatic. Take the time to leave the home, type out your frustrations or go to mediation so that your child doesn't have to be caught in the middle of your arguments.

Make the divorce, and child custody, as peaceful as possible

That means no badmouthing the other parent, no making excuses and taking responsibility for how you make your children feel. Make sure you're where you're meant to be when you say you will be, and if you have to cancel a child custody visit, tell your children directly (as long as it is age appropriate to do so). It's easy for children to suffer hurt feelings or to feel like the divorce is all their fault, so it's up to you to do what you can to alleviate those feelings.

If your children are fighting a divorce by acting out and don't want to accept it, you need to take time to talk to them. Your actions now pave the way for your future relationship.